Embattled South African 800m champion Semenya named in preliminary squad

Embattled Olympic 800m South African champion, Caster Semenya has been named in country’s provisional squad for the World Championships to be held in Qatar later this year.

Her participation depends on the outcome of her appeal to Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court (SFT) against an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruling restricting testosterone levels in female runners.

This comes barely a week after the SFT suspended the IAAF’s ruling, allowing the double Olympic champion to temporarily compete without taking testosterone-suppressing medicine that the Federations was seeking to induce on the testosterone advantaged athletes.

The IAAF has, however, come out to defend their earlier decision saying it will seek a “swift reversal” of the SFT’s decision.

The court’s “super provisional order” will also only apply until 25 June the date by which the IAAF must respond to the court on Semenya’s case.

The World Championships is expected to take place in Doha from 28 September to 6 October.

Last month, Semenya filed the appeal after failing to have new IAAF rules overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The new IAAF rules state that Semenya and other athletes with differences of sexual development (DSD) must either take the medication in order to compete in track events from 400m to the mile, or change to another distance.

In April, the three-time world champion won 5,000m gold at the South African Athletics Championships – a new distance that would not require her to lower her testosterone levels.

Semenya is set to race over 2,000m in Paris on Tuesday, and in the 3,000m at the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford, California on 30 June but she has only been entered in the 800m for the world championships.

South Africa have also included Olympic 400m champion and world record holder Wayde van Niekerk, who is set to return almost two years after injuring his knee ligaments in a charity touch rugby game in October 2017.

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